Unlocking the hidden talent pool

the recruitment puzzle
By Stephanie Coward | 6th July 2022 | 6 min read

We're currently facing what many are branding the unexpected recruitment crisis.

Last month I spoke at the CIPD Festival of Work about this topic, looking at what businesses can do to tackle the talent shortage.

Vacancies are at an all-time high, with recent data from ONS uncovering that 1.3 million new job opportunities were published between February and April – that’s a lot of options for candidates.

The business impact: competition is fierce for talent, with many job roles not being filled for extended periods, resulting in added costs and placing extra stress on current employees.

It’s time for HR to rethink its recruitment strategy because innovation is needed and quick.

Think outside the box

Often when recruiting, businesses target a few job boards or hand off the process to agencies, but by doing so, you’re missing out on the vast majority of talent.

Let me explain – potential candidates can be broken down into three categories:

Active job seekers, who make up 5-15% of the talent pool, are those who look at job boards every day and personally reach out to recruitment agencies; these are the traditional candidates that businesses target their efforts at.

Semi-active job seekers make up a marginally larger percentage sitting at 10-25%. These candidates have put the feelers out for a new opportunity, occasionally speaking with agencies and checking job boards on an ad-hoc basis.

Passive candidates are your vast majority, making up 60-80% of talent, who currently have no desire to move. While they’re not looking for a new role, with some nurturing, you could potentially ignite their interest.

With the current war for talent raging fiercely, a strategy rethink is needed.

Rather than focusing purely on those active and semi-active job seekers, instead, look to also entice those in the passive category.

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Rethinking your talent sourcing strategies

Passive candidates are a massive untapped market that, with some nurture, can become phenomenal assets to your business.

But how do you capture the interest of those who aren’t even looking?

Put the spotlight on your business culture  

Gone are the days when pay was the primary factor for moving roles; modern employees now seek a business in line with their beliefs.

People are keen to understand what your corporate social responsibilities are as well as the overall culture.

To entice those in the passive category as well as strengthen your pull with active and semi-active job seekers, show the human side of your business and look to foster a personal connection by showcasing your business culture.

How can you reach a wide audience? A business social media account is your best friend.

But don’t limit yourself to only LinkedIn – while your goal is a recruitment push, to showcase your business culture to as many people as possible, utilise all the main networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even TikTok.

Consider creating posts that celebrate employees, highlight diversity & inclusion (D&I) initiatives and showcase the employee experience.

If you’re looking for inspiration, have a gander at our Instagram, where we showcase IRIS and its people.

Create employee evangelists

Acting as a two-pronged attack, once you showcase your business culture on your corporate social channels, the next step is to create employee evangelists who further push your message.

Word of mouth is still an extremely powerful tool, and people a far more likely to believe a business is a great place to work if they hear it from a friend.

So, encourage your people to share their experiences and department vacancies as well as tag their colleagues, managers and leaders for maximum exposure.

Top tip: having senior leaders engage with employee posts is a great way to make people feel seen while also motivating them to post more.

Process optimisation: interviewing and onboarding

Ask yourself how many steps your current recruitment process has?

We live in an instant gratification age where people expect everything now, and this mindset also applies to our professional lives.

Candidates are looking for an intuitive and speedy recruitment process, which you need to ultimately underpin with technology.

Electronic signatures, automatic contract generation and automated workflows all play a huge part in ensuring candidates remain engaged and eager throughout the process.

To be frank, having a speedy recruitment process also significantly reduces the risk of other businesses gazumping your candidates.

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Unlocking an untapped talent pool

It’s time to rethink recruitment.

For those struggling to fill vacancies – which to be honest, is most businesses within the UK – looking to bring on board passive employees could be just the lifeline your company needs.

While it requires a shift in your recruitment strategy, the benefits of extensively highlighting your employee culture will also further entice those actively looking for new roles, enhancing your overall efforts.